Welcome to another Flourish Friday!
If you’re new to How I Flourish in Des Moines, this blog series shares the stories of local women in business. Get ready to learn more about these passionate women, how they started businesses in the Des Moines area, and advice they have to share.
Introducing Laura Reed and AR Workshop
If you’re a fan of DIY projects, you’re in for a fun read! In this post, local business owner Laura Reed shares how her passion for DIY projects turned into a full-time business journey operating AR Workshop in Ankeny. Almost one year in, read on to learn about her move to the Des Moines metro and how AR Workshop makes DIY more fun and accessible.
Also, catch the photos at the end of this post to get an inside look of the workshop!
1. What is your business, and what do you do?
AR Workshop is a boutique DIY studio that features hands-on classes making on-trend home décor. Some of our items include plank wood signs, framed wood signs, centerpiece boxes, lazy susans, pedestal trays, canvas pillows and canvas and wood wall hangings. We’ve got some new projects up our sleeves that we will be debuting this holiday season-stay tuned! We also have specialty workshops from time to time including hand lettering and chunky knit blanket classes which have been incredibly popular. Our stains are non-toxic so there is no smell when using them.
Anyone can simply register online for a class and when they show up to class we have everything ready for them and take them step by step through the entire process. You leave after about 3 hours with a finished product a quality time spent with friends and family. Come by yourself or in a large group- it makes no difference to us. We can accommodate private parties, youth birthday parties, team buildings, bachelorette parties and more!
We also have retail that we sell at the front of our store. You can purchase jewelry, soaps, lotions, home décor and other giftable items.
2. How long have you been in business?
We will be celebrating our first year in business on December 15th. Let the birthday party planning begin!
3. What sparked your interest in becoming a small business owner?
I went to school for social work and practiced that for about 6 years before my husband and I moved to Ankeny from Sioux Falls, SD. I worked a few jobs doing office management but didn’t love what I was doing and the opportunity came about to open up a franchise and we jumped on it. DIY is right up our alley and we’ve loved every minute of it! Our friends in Sioux Falls actually were opening one in Sioux Falls and that’s how we heard about AR Workshop. We thought it was an amazing idea that would do well in Ankeny so we set up a phone call with one of the founders and decided quickly after that we wanted to do it! I run the shop day to day with the help of my fantastic mother-in-law and my husband kept his job as a project manager. Jeff has the business sense and can guide us through things we’ve never encountered before. This year has been quite the learning process but so much fun and so rewarding at the same time.
Something interesting about our business is the fact that we did a lot of the hands on work of the things you see throughout our space. We built the tables, front desk, bar, shelving and more at the workshop. They truly want the experience to be DIY and it is!
4. What gap does your business fill?
We provide an outlet for all of the crafty and even non-crafty people out there! Believe it or not you don’t actually have to be crafty for your project to turn out well! For us it is about the experience- you get 3 hours of quality time with your friends and family. Yes, you can buy home décor at a multitude of different stores but you can make your own personalized home décor with us !
5. What do you enjoy most about operating a business in the Des Moines metro?
I truly love the sense of community here! When we first were thinking of moving to the Des Moines area I was honestly a little worried because this small town farm girl thought the population was too large for her. I couldn’t be more happy with our move and definitely call Ankeny home!
6. What is the best business-related advice you’ve received?
If you decide to open a business, just make sure it is something you love doing and that you will want to do day in and day out. You work a lot of hours as a business owner, but for me it truly doesn’t feel like work and I love that about my career!
7. What tip do you have for other women in business?
Networking is huge for your business. I am admittedly an introvert and have had to step out of my comfort zone daily being a business owner. People want to do business with people they have a relationship with. Get to know the women and men in your community- what do you have to lose?
Never say “never!”Becoming a business owner was never on my list of “things to accomplish” and I certainly wasn’t planning for it when I went to school for social work but it’s been such an amazing experience for me in so many ways. It’s helped me step out of my comfort zone and I’ve learned so much in the past year.